Destinations Magazine

Radiohead and Ramadan

By Stizzard
Radiohead and Ramadan Fighting for the right to rock

ON JUNE 17th Radiohead, a British rock band, played an unexpected cameo role in Turkey’s increasingly bitter conflict between secularists and zealots. About two dozen men, some armed with pipes, stormed an Istanbul record shop where fans of the group had gathered to listen to their new album. Incensed by the sight of people drinking beer outdoors during the Muslim fast of Ramadan, the attackers pelted them with glass bottles. “We will burn you in there,” one yelled.

Radiohead released a statement deploring the violence. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, suggested both sides were to blame: “Using brute force to interfere is as wrong as organising an event spilling onto the street during Ramadan.” The next evening in Cihangir, a chic neighbourhood up the hill from the record shop, hundreds of people protested against the attack, which they linked to Mr Erdogan’s pandering to his religious base. They were met by riot police. “Whether I choose to drink is my business,” said Baris Canyazar, one of the young protesters, his eyes smarting from tear gas. “But we are under siege.”

The Economist: Europe

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